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Hastings Nonprofit Gets Boost From Broadway Show, 'Hamilton'

A Graham School Foundation fundraising event in New Rochelle featured a student speaker who participated in The Eliza Project.
A Graham School Foundation fundraising event in New Rochelle featured a student speaker who participated in The Eliza Project. Photo Credit: Submitted

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. --The Broadway show, "Hamilton," may have broken records with the most Tony nominations ever -- 16 total -- but to those at The Graham School Foundation in Hastings, its place in the spotlight has helped shine a light on something more important: their work.

The Greenburgh-Graham School District educates students from the Graham Residential Center, a nonprofit, which was co-founded by Eliza Hamilton, Alexander's wife, as a way to rescue children who lost their parents to cholera, yellow fever and tragedy. The Graham Residential Center has been in existence since 1806.

The Greenburgh-Graham district services more than 300 students from fragile families who are overcoming a variety of circumstances and traumas.

The mission of the school district, which caters to kids from kindergarten to grade 12, is now focused on addressing the social, academic, and emotional challenges that result from those experiences and transitions.

Leaders of the nonprofit have been stunned by a surge of donations due to the spotlight from the show -- the agency gets a mention in a song sung by Eliza (for those lucky enough to have seen it). Mrs. Hamilton served as the organization's first directress, a position she held for 27 years. (A plaque at the Graham School honors her memory.)

The agency even got a surprise donation more than a year ago from Lin-Manuel Miranda, the musical's creator.

And the good news doesn't stop there. What started in December 2015 as a pen pal relationship between the show's cast and crew has turned into a host of acting, dance and rap lessons given to kids by various performers. The effort, dubbed "The Eliza Project," is led by Phillipa Soo who plays Mrs. Hamilton,.

The Greenburgh-Graham School’s Superintendent Amy Goodman hopes, with the continued “Hamilton," buzz, that more people will lend their support to the Graham School Foundation and the Graham School as a way to create equity in the lives of young people. A fundraising breakfast hosted by the Graham School Foundation, in fact, led by New Rochelle resident and Board Member Leslie Garfield, Larchmonters Linda Solomon and Elese Silverman and Board Member Audrey Rogers recently brought in $12,500.

The big silent auction item? Tickets for two to "Hamilton."

For more information, go to www.grahamschoolfoundation.org/ .

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